If you are a fragrance enthusiast, even a brief introduction to tea will reveal that the line between fragrance and tea is a fine one. The enjoyment of tea begins before you even take a sip. As you inhale the aromas rising above a steaming cup, you can imagine the taste: smoky, leafy, fruity, leathery or even floral. When I recently wrote about white teas, many of you mentioned in the comments that you were interested in learning more about tea, but weren’t sure where to start. Today I’m happy to present the first installment in a series of articles about tea. In this tea primer, I’ll detail types of tea, selecting and brewing tea, and other information about enjoying tea to its fullest. For all of those who are seasoned tea enthusiasts, I hope to offer some new insights and to learn from all that you have to share.
Tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world after water–it’s simple to make, and the taste is refreshing. Tea originated in China over 4,000 years ago, and today it is easier than ever to find high quality tea from around the world. There are various types of tea, but all share a common origin, coming from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Where the Camellia sinensis leaves are grown and how they are processed determines the differences between the various types of tea produced from this plant. I will start by describing the scent and taste differences between different teas by focusing on the dark and rich varieties–black and oolong.